Circadian Rhythms – Nature Therapy
Circadian rhythms are the natural waking and sleeping cycles of our body. If we travel between time zones our circadian rhythms are upset and we may be hungry at the wrong time or cannot get to sleep because the natural clock in our body is thrown off. It has been shown that one of the best ways to reset our circadian rhythms is to spend time in the sunlight, such as enjoying time in a garden.
An article on our circadian rhythms in today’s Wall Street Journal (WSJ) indicates that there are optimal times during the day for specific tasks and activities. A good way to regulate our bodies clock is to stay connected to nature. It is a natural way to reset and/or maintain our natural rhythms . A link to the article in the WSJ can be found at http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10000872396390444180004578018294057070544.html?mod=ITP_personaljournal_0Read more
TREE HOUSE THERAPY
Want to feel like a kid again? Remember when you had a tree house or played in a friends tree house? How about staying in a tree house the next time you travel? These hotel rooms in the trees really help you get close to nature. If you’re not height averse (and they are not all that far off the ground), the tree house rooms offers a feeling of being close to nature. The idea of being in a tree and a part of nature can be fun and exciting. It can also be restorative and that’s really what it is all about..
There are some great locations throughout the U.S., including the Conn., Washington and Hawaii. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal highlights vacation rentals in Maisons-Laffitte, France. A link to the article in the WSJ is at http://online.wsj.com/article_email/SB10000872396390443989204577603204221965514-lMyQjAxMTAyMDIwMjAyODI3Wj.html?mod=wsj_valetleft_emailRead more
Healing Through Nature conference
I just returned from the “Healing through Nature” conference at the Chicago Botanic Garden. This inspirational conference focused on Cognitive Issues and PTSD. Dr. Mark Detweiler, Jonna Detweiler, Sandra Lane of the SVAMC and myself talked about the importance of creating Therapeutic Gardens for Veterans. It was great to be able to show the Landscape Plans for the SVAMC Therapeutic Garden and present an update on the development of the garden.
The Salem VA Therapeutic Garden is comprised of a Physical Therapy Garden, Woodland Meditation Garden, Labyrinth Garden, Conservatory and a greenhouse with raised planters for crop production. All areas of the courtyard 1.75 acre garden are being designed for therapeutic purposes. The installation of the garden will be assisted with the help of the Compensated Work Therapy (CWT) program at the SVAMC.
Information on the Healing through Nature conference can be found at http://www.chicagobotanic.org/school/certificate/hgd_seminar.php?goback=.gmr_4292194.gde_4292194_member_99872749
Additional information on the Salem VA Therapeutic Garden project can be found at http://theroanoker.com/home-garden/gardener%E2%80%99s-paradise-salem-veterans-administration-medical-center-2012Read more
Parks for Restoration and Healing
I recently had the opportunity to lead a tour of the Conservatory Garden in Central Park. The tour was part of the ‘Healthy Environments Across Generations’ conference by the Collaboration on Health and the Environment held at the Academy of Medicine in NYC. It was exciting to be a part of the conference and to share thoughts and ideas with so many people from other disciplines.
A highlight of the event was being able to lead a group of people attending the conference on a tour of the Conservatory Gardens, which are located in the north east side of Central Park at 105th Street and Fifth Avenue. The weather was perfect for walking though the gardens. We discussed the need for parks, especially in urban areas. Olmsted, who designed Central park, understood the need to create these green oasis to help people restore health and well-being through nature.
The event was especially poignant because of my personal connection to the NYC parks. My grandfather was head of the Parks Department on Staten Island years ago. I remember going to work with him and his stories about the parks. He is the inspiration for what I am doing today as a landscape architect. So, nature does influence who and what we are on so many different levels.
Be sure to visit your parks and open space areas this summer. They will make you feel, better. I promise!
To see pictures of the Conservatory Garden in Central park – take a look at this video clip. You definitely have to visit Central park when you are in the area. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MxBdM_FfCUY
Water therapy – for plants
OK – I admit it – it is hot outside. If you have plants in pots, you will see them wilting faster than plants in the ground. Best to check them each day and look for signs of wilting. An important things to consider during there spikes in temperature and the warmer days of summer ahead is watering the plants, especially now that we have officially moved into summer.
It is better to water longer because you will saturate the soil. The goal is to water deeply so plants will produce roots that go deeper into the soil. The results will be healthier plants that will be able to withstand dry periods longer. Watering for only a few minutes doesn’t really help a plant because it will only dry out again sooner. Most plants need an inch of water per week during the spring and fall season. An inch and a half of water is required, on average, during summer months.
Mulching around plants helps retain moister in the soil and you will not have to water as often. I use a shredded hard wood mulch around larger plants such as trees and shrubs. I have been using newspaper and straw in the vegetable garden. Having soils that are rich in organic material helps retain moisture longer.
Frequently check the soil to see how dry it actually is. Stick your finger into the ground down to your knuckle. If it is still moist – check it again the next day. Remember – watering deeply throughout the root zone of the plants is the key. Deeper roots (trees and shrubs) require longer watering.
A good video on watering tips – that is fun to watch – and actually learn from is at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hrdN5Z5K5QsRead more